A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day Four: Southwell

Got to be honest – I’ve had less awkward settings to write posts than my current one. Sat in the car while Mandie drives us down a very soggy M54 towards our final destination of the week – Penarth and the very final day of the Orenda Roadshows. It’s all good though, as we are in the car, we are dry (I’m hoping the house will be when I get back as the storm drains in my street were mm away from overflowing when we left), and if there are any typos I can blame it all on the road conditions …

So last night it was my turn to drive, and after picking up Mandie and our friend Lou, we set off on our epic cross country roadtrip top Southwell for day four of the Orenda Roadshows. Slightly different line up again last night as Helga Flatland has flow home and been replaced by the lovely West Camel. The event was hosted by The Bookcase, Lowdham, one of Nottinghamshire’s few independent bookshops, and held at the library in Southwell, which is a lovely small town (even it if it a little off the beaten track). A good turn out for the event (including Will Carver’s children meaning he was on relatively good behaviour last night) and all was set for a very good night of books.

First order of business – the introductions. Karen always gives a kind of royal theme to her team, even Michael J Malone who has been granted the title of Arch Duke or Ayrshire and was sporting a rather regal purple jumper last night, so we have the full range of titles from Princes to Kings to Queens.

After introducing all of the audience to their books, it was time for the readings, and Karen always likes to keep people on their toes, mixing up the reading order to make sure the authors all stay awake. Another set of different readings again tonight which keeps things interesting. Reading from their books tonight were: Antti Tuomainen (Little Siberia); Simone Buchholz (Mexico Street); Michael J Malone (In The Absence of Miracles); Will Carver (Nothing Important Happened Today); Matt Wesolowski (Beast); Thomas Enger (Death Deserved); Kjell Ola Dahl (Sister); Vanda Symon (Containment); Louise Beech (I Am Dust); West Camel (Attend); Helen Fitzgerald (Ash Mountain); and Johana Gustawsson (Blood Song).

Because of the lower average age of the audience, authors were tasked with introducing a self policing bleep machine after a couple of expletives escaped from Vanda Symon, much to the shock and merriment of Will Carver’s daughter. I think it was as much fun watching her reaction when the word sh*t slipped out as it was listening to the reading. 😆When her dad managed a couple of swearing adjacent words later on, she was loving it. By Will Carver’s own admission, the main question asked by his kids when they know he has been working on his books was ‘have you written any swear words today?’

More questions from the audience, but only a couple this time (they were quite shy). One of they key ones was how do you find your voice for writing. The main feeling was that you have to let the person you are writing completely about embody you, and West Camel said that an honest writer would freely admit that every character you create is a little part of you. Will Carver also got asked about how much and what kind of research he did into cults before writing Nothing Important Happened Today and then it was time for the book signings.

As per the previous posts, I’m going to spotlight three more of the authors on the tour and this time it’s over to the ladies – Simone Buchholz, Johana Gustawsson and Vanda Symon.

Mexico Street – SImone Buchholz

Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no suspect.

Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty. The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan – is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.

Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation, which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random attacks, and there are more on the cards…

Blood Song – Johana Gustawsson

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning instalment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

Containment – Vanda Symon

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

If there are any major bloopers in this post, my apologies. I am battling road conditions, wavering phone signal and fatigue. Good news though – we are well on our way to Gloucester services and a lovely cup of coffee. Every cloud and all that. Then next stop Cardiff Bay and finally Penarth.

It’s not too late to join me and a whole host of other bloggers this evening. Follow the link below for booking information.

28th February – Griffin Books – Penarth – at the West Glamorgan Golf Club.

Final write up tomorrow morning. See you then. Have a fabulously bookish day.


4 thoughts on “A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day Four: Southwell

  1. I’ll skip tonight’s session, thanks, Jen, but it was good to see you last night, and meet Mandie and Lou. Hope your journey home was tolerable as you escaped the clutches of deepest, darkest Nottinghamshire…

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